Retweets and permalinks

My last post threw me against an odd stumbling block with new-style retweets on Twitter: there are no permalinks for retweets.

In a post explaining the changes to retweets almost a year ago Evan Williams noted various problems with the old style of retweets. Two mentioned were that retweets were untrackable and that they created confusion over attribution. This may be true of the old style but the new method is even worse for attribution in any medium other than Twitter’s.

That post I mention above was about a slick, adaptive CSS grid framework. I only found it because Lauren Rabaino retweeted an earlier post from Nathan Smith.

So what are my options if I want to give Lauren credit in a blog post?

I can link to her profile page which will be irrelevant for that tweet in a short while.

I could link to the original tweet from Nathan Smith. This would show Lauren’s profile picture as one of the retweets but it doesn’t scale well. If the tweet were more popular and had dozens of retweets Lauren’s information might not even appear. For example, 56 people retweeted this but only 15 avatars show.

There ought to be an easier way. Twitter should have a permalink to both the original tweet as well as something I can link to showing it was Lauren that made me aware of the post.

Proper attribution in this case only exists within Twitter’s platform. Maybe that’s the point. If that’s true it’s frustrating to say the least. Retweeting is a form of publishing and we as users ought to be able to link to any form of published content on the web.